Fly tipping in Powys did increase when recycling centre opening days were slashed last year, new figures have revealed.
The number of fly tipping incidents in the county has steadily risen since 2011, with more than 1,000 recorded in each of the last two financial years.
This year’s figure already looks set to surpass that – with 900 incidents in the first six months.
With the problem escalating, many residents and councillors were concerned when Powys County Council’s Cabinet announced in early 2017 that the opening days at its Household Waste and Recycling Centres were to be reduced. The changes came into effect in April.
At the time, fears abounded that the move would lead to an increase in fly tipping, with strict new rules on what vehicles could drop off waste at the centres only serving to add to the worries.
When the new council took over in May, it quickly resolved to reverse the decision and the centres went back to five days a week as of September 2017. Numbers revealed to the County Times under the Freedom of Information Act now show the true extent of fly tipping while the reduced opening hours were in effect.
From April 2016 to March 2017, there were 1,027 fly tipping incidents.
The highest number recorded in a single month was 120 in June 2016, with no individual month seeing more than 100 incidents from August 2016 to February 2017.
Then in March, when the council announced the recycling centres’ cuts, there were 141 incidents, rising to 166 in April when the changes were implemented.
The numbers remained high, with no single month seeing less than 133 incidents until September, when the recycling centre cuts were reversed.
That month there were 123 – currently a provisional figure – while numbers for the months since have not yet been released.
In the wake of the new figures, the council has acknowledged a “possible” link between the partial closure of the centres and the increase in fly tipping, but said it was working to address the problem.